A Walking Tour of New London, Connecticut
a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from walkthetown.com
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2010 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
When a group of Puritan families under the the direction of John Winthrop, Jr. arrived here in 1646 they found one of the deepest harbors on the Atlantic coast, courtesy of an ancient flooded river valley. The prospects for the new location were so promising the village soon was named New London and that river was called the Thames.
The sea would bring both wealth and heartbreak to New London. During the Revolutionary War more troublesome privateers operated from this port than any other in New England. It has been estimated that some 300 British cargo ships were captured by New London vessels. Such activity did not escape the attention of the crown and even though the war was winding down in September 1781 a British Tory fleet under the command of Benedict Arnold sacked the town. To New London’s misfortune, Arnold spent much of his childhood in the town and knew the terrain. His raiding party destroyed 150 buildings. Arnold claimed that most of the destruction was the fault of accidental fires but townspeople contended he stood at Ye Ancientist Burial Grounds viewing the flames, “with the apparent satisfaction of a Nero.”